Where can I legally sleep in my car?

Have you ever wondered, "where can I sleep in my car legally?" The answer to that question can change from state to state so you should also do your research before pulling off the road to get some sleep. Typically, drivers are allowed to sleep in their cars at Walmart parking lots and campsites. If you're wondering, "where can I buy auto insurance?" you can shop online to find the coverage you want at the low rates you need.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: May 5, 2022

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Things to Remember

  • Every state has different laws regarding overnight parking at rest stops
  • Intoxicated drivers can be arrested for sleeping in their cars, in some states
  • Drivers sleeping in their cars should keep them well ventilated and insulated

You’ve been driving for hours, and you start to feel your eyelids getting heavy. If you have neither the money for a hotel nor any friends nearby to stay with, your only option might be to sleep in your car. Now, if you find yourself in this situation you may be wondering, are there any free places nearby to sleep in my car? and, if I have affordable auto insurance, where can I sleep in my car legally?

These are both excellent questions. It’s important to avoid driving when tired, but it’s also important to know the rules for overnight parking wherever you find yourself. Thankfully, if you’re a driver who asks questions like, “where can I get affordable auto insurance quotes?” and, “where can I sleep in my car legally?” you have a wealth of free resources at your fingertips like free auto insurance quotes and tips on how to stay safe while sleeping in your car.

Keep reading to discover where you can legally sleep in your car, and how you can remain safe while doing so.

If you’ve ever wondered, Where can I sleep in my car legally?, enter your ZIP code to start comparing free insurance quotes.

Where can drivers legally sleep in their cars?

Finding a location where it is legal to sleep in your car for more than an hour or two is actually quite difficult. You may think that a rest stop is a perfect place to sleep for the night, but depending on the state you’re in, you could be breaking the law if you decide to catch your beauty sleep at a rest stop.

If you frequently sleep in your car or if you are about to go on a long road trip, review this list to determine which states allow overnight parking at their rest stops:

StateState Parking Rules
Alabama-Parking overnight at rest stops is prohibited.
-Parking on highways is not allowed.
-Intoxicated drivers can be arrested for sleeping in their cars.
- Various cities have bans on sleeping in the car.
Alaska-Laws are city-specific.
Arizona-Overnight parking is allowed at rest stops.
-Drivers can be arrested for sleeping in their cars while intoxicated.
Arkansas-Overnight parking at rest stops is allowed.
California-Overnight parking at rest stops is prohibited.
-Overnight parking is only allowed in certain parking lots.
Colorado-Parking overnight at rest stops is prohibited.
-Overnight parking in certain lots is allowed.
-Intoxicated drivers can be arrested for sleeping in their cars.
-Parking on a highway is prohibited.
Connecticut-Parking overnight at a rest stop is prohibited.
Delaware-Parking overnight at a rest stop is prohibited.
Florida-Parking overnight at a rest stop is prohibited.
-Intoxicated drivers can be arrested for sleeping in their cars.
Georgia-Parking overnight at a rest stop is prohibited.
Hawaii-Parking overnight at a rest stop is prohibited.
-Sleeping in your vehicle is prohibited.
-Drivers cannot park overnight on private property without permission.
Idaho-Parking overnight at a rest stop is allowed.
Illinois-Parking overnight at a rest stop is prohibited.
Indiana-Parking overnight at a rest stop is prohibited.
Iowa-Parking overnight at a rest stop is allowed for one night only.
Kansas-Parking overnight at a rest stop is allowed for one night only.
Kentucky-Parking overnight at a rest stop is prohibited.
Louisiana-Parking overnight at a rest stop is prohibited.
Maine-Parking overnight at a rest stop is prohibited.
Maryland-Parking overnight at a rest stop is prohibited.
Massachusetts-Parking overnight at a rest stop is prohibited.
Michigan-Parking overnight at a rest stop is prohibited.
Minnesota-Parking overnight at a rest stop is prohibited.
Missouri-Parking overnight at a rest stop is allowed.
Montana-Parking overnight at a rest stop is allowed.
Nebraska-Parking overnight at a rest stop is prohibited.
Nevada-Parking overnight at a rest stop is allowed.
New Hampshire-Parking overnight at a rest stop is prohibited.
New Jersey-Parking overnight at a rest stop is allowed at some rest stops.
New Mexico-Parking overnight at a rest stop is allowed.
New York-Parking overnight at a rest stop is prohibited.
North Carolina-Parking overnight at a rest stop is prohibited.
North Dakota-Parking overnight at a rest stop is allowed.
Ohio-Parking overnight at a rest stop is prohibited.
Oklahoma-Parking overnight at a rest stop is allowed.
Oregon-Parking overnight at a rest stop is prohibited.
Pennsylvania-Parking overnight at a rest stop is prohibited.
Rhode Island-Parking overnight at a rest stop is prohibited.
South Carolina-Parking overnight at a rest stop is prohibited.
South Dakota-Parking overnight at a rest stop is prohibited.
Tennessee-Parking overnight at a rest stop is prohibited.
Texas-Parking overnight at a rest stop is allowed.
Utah-Parking overnight at a rest stop is prohibited.
Vermont-Parking overnight at a rest stop is prohibited.
Virginia-Parking overnight at a rest stop is prohibited.
Washington-Parking overnight at a rest stop is allowed.
West Virginia-Parking overnight at a rest stop is allowed.
Wisconsin-Parking overnight at a rest stop is prohibited.
Wyoming-Parking overnight at a rest stop is prohibited.
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Now that we’ve covered rest stops, you most likely are wondering, can I sleep in my car at Walmart? The answer is yes. Most Walmart chains allow individuals to sleep overnight in the parking lot, but setting up an entire campsite is prohibited.

Can I sleep in my car at a campsite? Sleeping in your car at a campsite is also permitted; however, you will most likely be required to pay a fee for the privilege. This may be worth it, though, as most campsites have bathroom and shower facilities as well as areas to light a fire so you can stay warm and prepare meals.

Knowing the rules of overnight parking will prevent trouble while on the road, so before you head out on your next adventure, be sure to do some research regarding where you plan on parking for the evening to allow for some uninterrupted rest.

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Where is it safe to sleep in the car?

Once you’ve learned where you can legally sleep, you should ask yourself, “where can I legally and safely sleep in my car to prevent increased auto insurance rates?”

This may seem like an odd question, but if you park in unsafe areas, your chances of experiencing a vehicle break-in increase. And if you file a claim to repair any damages or to receive compensation for any items that are stolen, your insurance rates can rise.

Here are a few tips on detecting a safe area where you can rest your eyes for a while without the concern of potentially filing a claim:

  • The area is well lit
  • The area is on level ground
  • The area is not near other moving vehicles
  • The area is free from debris

Taking these four items into account when finding yourself a place to sleep can help you locate an area where you will feel comfortable enough to let your guard down and get some much needed rest.

Is it safe for drivers to sleep in their cars?

Sleeping in your car can be perfectly safe as long as you know how to do it properly. The first thing you should do after selecting an overnight parking spot is to ensure that your car is both ventilated and well insulated. This is essential and dependent upon whether you are in a hot, humid area or in snow-covered surroundings.

Ensure that at least two windows are open just enough to allow some airflow into your vehicle. Be careful not to open it too wide for a stranger to be able to reach either their hand or a device inside your car to unlock it. If you are concerned about bugs accessing your car’s interior, bring some mesh and tape so you can seal off the open space while still allowing fresh air inside.

Also, make sure that you have a cloth handy as condensation from your breath may fog up your windows during the night, and you’ll need to wipe them down when you awaken.

Next, you’ll need to ensure that you stay warm throughout the night. Ideally, you should have additional clothes to sleep in and either a sleeping bag or a heavy blanket to keep you warm. It’s vital that you never leave your engine running overnight no matter how cold or hot the temperature.

Running your engine while you sleep can be very dangerous, as it can increase carbon monoxide levels in your car and even overheat your vehicle. It will also make your car more noticeable to anyone passing by your parked vehicle.

Do drivers need good insurance while sleeping in their cars?

You most likely wouldn’t ask your auto insurance company, “where can I legally sleep in my car?” However, having the proper limits on your auto insurance can protect you if you do frequently sleep in your vehicle. If your car is your primary residence or merely your trusty metal horse, you should ensure that you are making use of everything your insurance company has to offer you — like roadside assistance and low deductibles — so that you can get your vehicle repaired quickly.

Drivers who sleep in their cars on a regular basis may be concerned about staying within a tight budget. Thankfully, there are many ways to obtain great insurance policies at low rates. Below, you can review a list of common discounts that many major insurance companies offer:

Commonly Available Insurance Discounts

Vehicle Discounts:Driver/Customer Discounts:Personal Discounts:
Active Disabling DeviceClaim FreeEmergency Deployment
Adaptive Cruise ControlContinuous CoverageFamily Legacy
Adaptive HeadlightsDefensive DriverFamily Plan
Anti-Lock BrakesDriver's EducationFederal Employee
Audible AlarmDriving Device/AppFurther Education
Automatic BrakingEarly SigningGood Student
Blind Spot WarningFull PaymentHomeowner
Daytime Running LightsGood CreditLife Insurance
Economy VehicleLoyaltyMarried
Electronic Stability ControlMultiple PoliciesMembership/Group
Farm/Ranch VehicleMultiple VehiclesMilitary
Forward Collision WarningNew Customer/New PlanNew Address
Garaging/StoringOccasional OperatorNew Graduate
Green/Hyrbid VehicleOnline ShopperNon-Smoker/Non-Drinker
Lane Departure WarningOn-Time PaymentsOccupation
Newer VehiclePaperless/Auto BillingRecent Retirees
Passive RestraintPaperless DocumentsStable Residence
Utility VehicleRoadside AssistanceStudent Away
Vehicle RecoverySafe DriverStudent or Alumni
VIN EtchingSeat Belt UseVolunteer
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With discounts like these, you don’t have to fret about not being able to afford the coverage you need to legally drive your car on the road.

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Sleeping in Your Car: What You Need to Know

Have you ever wondered, where can I sleep in my car nearby? That will depend on the state and city in which you’re currently driving. Every place has its own parking laws, so you should always do research before you pull over for the night.

The next time you ask yourself, “where can I legally sleep in my car nearby?” use free online resources to find the most accurate information about your location so that you can rest peacefully. If you’re looking for areas where you can park, clean up, and cook some food, a campsite will most likely be your best place to stay. However, this will require you to pay a campsite fee.

When sleeping in your car, ensure that you keep it ventilated, warm, and in a safe area. To avoid any unfortunate accidents, do not ever run your engine while sleeping.

If you’re wondering, where can I purchase auto insurance? or, where can I sleep in my car legally? shop online to find insurance policies that can offer you the coverage you need at great low rates.

Enter your ZIP code to obtain free quotes from insurance companies near you if you’ve ever wondered where you can legally sleep in your car.

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Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

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